Northumberland Bestiary

Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: An Impish Ape in a Medieval Zoo

Adam Naming the Animals in the Northumberland Bestiary / English

One of my favorite acquisitions of the past five years in the Getty’s manuscript collection is the Northumberland Bestiary (Ms. 100), featured currently in the Gothic Grandeur exhibition. A bestiary is a kind of medieval encyclopedia of animals. In addition… More»

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      From you have I been absent in the spring,
      When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
      Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
      That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
      Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
      Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
      Could make me any summer’s story tell,
      Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
      Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
      Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
      They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
      Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
      Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
      As with your shadow I with these did play.

      —William Shakespeare, born April 23, 1564

      Vase of Flowers (detail), 1722, Jan van Huysum. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      04/23/14

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